Healing Time Correlates With the Quality of Scaring: Results From a Prospective Randomized Control Donor Site Trial

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Scar formation remains a potential problem after surgery or trauma. Factors influencing scar tissue have been recognized, most notably healing time and wound depth.

OBJECTIVE

To examine the association between healing time and the quality of scar tissue formation.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Scarring was assessed at 3 and 12 months after treatment in an RCT of 219 patients and consecutive 438 split-thickness skin graft donor sites. The primary end point of the study was healing time and the quality of scar tissue, which was scored by a validated scar scale evaluating scar height, surface, and color.

RESULTS

The mean time of wound healing was 15.8 days, with a mean scar score of 6.89 at 3 months and 4.66 at 12 months. There was a significant (p < .000001) and linear correlation between healing time and scar quality. Of particular note, at 12 months, all subparameters of the score demonstrated worsening with prolonged time to heal.

CONCLUSION

The authors could objectively demonstrate that epithelialization time is an important factor influencing scar quality. In contrast to previous assumptions, this correlation follows linearly. It is reasonable then to assume that treatment strategies expediting healing will also improve scar outcome.

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